Tuesday 1 November 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - Sweat Soldering

I'm going to be teaching my beginners college class how to sweat solder, amongst other things, this halfterm, so I thought that this tutorial from the Etsy Metal team blog would be a perfect one to link to this week! If you haven't come across the EM blog yet, do go and have a look. There are over 100 members of this Etsy team, and the jewellery they create is gorgeous, and in so many different styles that you are sure to find great inspiration. They have recently started an "ask Auntie EM" feature, answering readers questions on everything from what type of stone setting to use to what tools are best for a particular job, and this tutorial came about because a reader was having trouble with sweat soldering and asked for advice.

If the term sweat soldering is new to you then here's a quick definition before you have a look at the tutorial! Sweat Soldering refers to the technique used to solder a (usually) flat piece of metal on top of another larger one. Solder is gently melted on to the back of the smaller piece - melted just enough so that it flows as evenly as possible across the back but not so much that it actually starts to sink into the metal itself. This smaller piece is then put in position on top of the larger piece, the work is then refluxed and the solder melted again. The trick is to make sure that this time you keep the heat mainly on the larger piece of metal so that you don't melt the smaller piece. The jewellery that you can see here are examples of pieces I make using this technique.

Onyx Pebble, Dusky Rose and Russian Circles pendants

Common problems with this technique include the solder not flowing evenly or at all on the second melting and the small piece moving about on the second melting of the solder, and the Etsy Metal tutorial helps with this and more with clear photos - you can find it here!

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